House debates

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Matters of Public Importance

Australian Interests

3:51 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

I hear the interjections from those on the other side of the chamber. They like to claim credit but it simply wasn't true. They had a bob each way, as they do in so many things when it comes to this place. They pretend to support it and then they go outside and undermine it. We see exactly what the Labor members are doing when they speak out of both sides of their mouths when is it comes to the vaccine rollout. They say it is so important and they back the government in making sure every Australian is vaccinated and then they come in this place or they get on Sky News and seek to undermine the rollout and seek to sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of Australians. It is such a disappointment. I do not understand why on this, of all issues, the vaccination against COVID-19 for the Australian population, the Labor MPs can't be firmly on team Australia. Even on that very simple topic, you would think would be straightforward to support the government to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine. But not even then can the Labor MPs bring themselves to not politicise such an important issue. It is a great shame. It says everything you need to know about how the Labor MPs have responded to this COVID-19 crisis.

What a contrast those opposite are compared to this government, which has firmly backed all Australians, which acted decisively and quickly. It got behind Australians in a way that has created more jobs now than at the start of the pandemic and is now giving all those families opportunity. It is not just creating jobs. We know that business confidence is at its highest levels in 11 years despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment is down to 5.8 per cent. The comeback is well and truly on and it just goes to show that you would rather be living in Australia now than anywhere else in the world. We can be incredibly proud as Australians. All Australians can be proud of what they have achieved during this pandemic because it is something that virtually nowhere else in the world has been able to achieve. It is a record of significance that they should be proud of and that they have achieved together by working together and by taking advantage of the significant support programs that this government has implemented.

But it's not just the COVID-19 pandemic where this government is backing Australians in. We've guaranteed funding and committed to invest $315 billion in schools over the next decade. To put that into context: it will increase the average funding per student by 60 per cent over the decade. More generally: in health, we now preside over a far more successful bulk-billing scheme. The bulk-billing rate was over 87 per cent in 2019-20, up from 82 per cent in 2012-13, which was Labor's last year in government, and nearly 143 million free GP services were delivered last year, 39 million more than in Labor's last year.

We're presiding over record spending on infrastructure, particularly on urban infrastructure, which is creating jobs and helping to reduce congestion so that people can get home to their families sooner and safer. There's $110 billion in the pipeline over 10 years to invest in infrastructure, including for major highways, busting open congestion, and to make public transport better so that we can back in all Australians and create jobs and opportunities for families. We are firmly on Team Australia and we are firmly on the side of ordinary Australians, unlike the Labor MPs opposite.


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